Balancing Act: When Responsibilities Take over Your Life

Being in college means that we are no strangers to the feelings of overwhelming stress or anxiety. We might often try to keep this weight under wraps, knowing that our friends are in the same boat and that if we call our parents they will undoubtedly worry their heads off. Sometimes though, there are days so hard that there’s no point in trying to contain your feelings and it feels impossible to balance all of your responsibilities while still having a good college experience.

Today might one of those bad days that just isn’t worth trying to cover up how bad it really is. You’ve got an exam worth 1/3 of your grade due in an hour and a half, a 1,500-word paper due at midnight that you’ve barely broken the halfway point on and you realize that all the contents of your wallet are gone. You try not to panic and instead try to get yourself organized. But maybe things just aren’t going your way and the panic starts to settle in. You might be stuck in a time crunch to get to your next exam or finish one of the many assignments that you have due and people like the customer service reps at your bank and DMV just aren’t helping the situation. At this point, it feels like just about anything can go wrong so you finally make it out the door and make it to your exam in the nick of time only to realize that you didn’t bring the one thing you needed: a pencil. Silly things like this will have you so down on yourself, but maybe there’s hope because the person next to you offers you a spare. However, it’s one those kinds of pencils that has the really bad eraser, but there’s no room (or time) to be picky, and you just have to hope you can get this exam done and go home to finish your essay. After all is said and done, this isn’t too difficult, but just about anything will feel absolutely soul-crushing to have to sit down and do it right then and there.   

Days like this makes balancing the everyday conventions of life unimaginable. And even normal days, where none of these little bumps in the road come up, can still be hard especially if you’re like me and you’re just trying to feel like you’ve used all your time wisely to get as much as possible done. It becomes second nature to feel guilty when we take time for ourselves, hang out with friends or even just prioritize one class over another. So how do we get over it? How do we trade in the stress and workload and achieve those “college are the prime years of your life” feel?

If there were a solid answer, we’d all be a little less worried. The truth is that we all have stress and cope with it in different ways, but if we didn’t take those few moments to ourselves we’d go crazy. Sure, you might think about all the reading and studying you could’ve done instead, but if you keep yourself busy with school 24/7 you risk burnout, which is way worse than feeling a little guilty because you went out instead of reading that extra poli-sci chapter!

More than anything, we all need to cut ourselves some slack and realize that with a little time management, it doesn’t have to feel like the end of the world when we don’t get everything done, in the time that we want, because life gets in the way! Sure, I might have had a crisis or two over losing all my IDs and cards and was in such a flurry of emotions that I stressed myself out, but once everything was re-ordered and there was nothing else I could do, it dawned on me that this happened to people all the time. And not just that, but someone somewhere, likely on the very same campus as me, had probably had a much harder day than me and we were all still pushing forth.

With less than 15 school days left in the semester (yeah you read that right) and finals season approaching, it’s important that we all be kind to ourselves and others. If you need time off, take it! If you and your friends want a night out to forget about all the upcoming work, don’t feel bad if you go! And if you are the type that adheres to a more strict study and work schedule, then that’s okay too, just make sure to take care of yourself.

All gifs courtesy of Giphy.

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